Uninsured Rate Lowest Ever Recorded by Gallup
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The Fiscal Times
May 5, 2014

The president’s health care law continues to slice the uninsured rate—which is now at its lowest level ever recorded by Gallup, the polling firm said Monday.

The percentage of adults without health insurance dropped to 13.4 percent from 14.7 percent in mid-March, and 16 percent in January, thanks to the combination of Obamacare’s new insurance exchanges, Medicaid expansion, and the falling unemployment rate.

Related: ACA Friendly States Are Insuring More People

The uninsured rate peaked at 18 percent last year then steadily climbed down each month after more people began to enroll in insurance policies sold on the exchanges.

“This downward trend in the uninsured rate coincided with the health insurance marketplace exchanges opening in October 2013, and accelerated as the March 31 deadline to purchase health insurance coverage approached -- and passed -- for most uninsured Americans,” Gallup noted.

Through April 15, the Obama administration said more than 8 million people signed up for health insurance in the state and federal marketplaces. Some 4.8 million gained coverage through Medicaid expansion, and 5 million purchased coverage off the exchanges. Separately, an earlier survey by the Rand Corporation found that 7.2 million previously uninsured people gained coverage through an employer in the last six months.

Gallup said the unemployment rate fell among all demographics, but it fell especially quickly among African Americans—dropping 7.1 points since the fourth quarter of last year.

Related: The Hidden Costs of Rejecting Medicaid Expansion

It also fell quickly among low-income people--likely because of the law’s Medicaid expansion. Among those with annual incomes under $36,000, the rate fell by 5.5 points over the same period.

An earlier Gallup poll showed that the uninsured rate dropped faster in states that chose to expand their Medicaid programs compared to those that did not.

The latest poll is good news for the president. However, despite exceeding enrollment goals and helping to reduce the uninsured rate, the public continues to have an unfavorable view of the law.

A new Pew Research poll released Monday shows disapproval of the law has hit an all-time high of 55 percent.

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Washington Correspondent Brianna Ehley, based in D.C., covers Congress, government agencies and spending issues, health care, and tax and economic policy for The Fiscal Times.